August 30, 2009
Need of Grace
You know my great unfitness for service,
my present deadness,
my inability to do anything for Your glory,
my distressing coldness of heart.
I am weak, ignorant, unprofitable,
and loathe and abhor myself.
I am at a loss to know what You would have me do,
for I feel amazingly deserted by thee,
and sense thy presence so little;
You make me possess the sins of my youth,
and the dreadful sin of my nature,
so that I feel all sin,
I cannot think or act but every motion is sin.
Return again with showers of converting grace
to a poor Gospel-abusing sinner.
Help my soul to breathe after holiness, after a constant devotedness to thee, after growth in grace more abundantly every day.
O Lord, I am lost in the pursuit of this blessedness,
and am ready to sink because I fall short of my desire;
Help me to hold out a little longer,
until the happy hour of deliverance comes,
for I cannot lift my soul to thee
if thou of thy goodness bring me not close.
Help me to be diffident, watchful, tender,
lest I offend my blessed friend in thought and behavior;
I confide in You and lean upon You,
and need You at all times to assist and lead me.
O that all my distresses and apprehensions might prove but Christ's school
to make me fit for greater service
by teaching me the great lesson of humility.
- The Valley Of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions.
If this doesn't summarize how I've felt in recent days, I'm not sure what does. It's refreshing to express so genuinely to God how little I'm able to accomplish of my own energy and strength. He is not caught off guard, surprised, nor does He sit back and scoff at my weakness. Christ's power in us is made perfect through weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), so the weaker we become - the more we admit we can't carry our load alone - the more powerfully God works in and through us. It's obviously backwards from what we've all been taught or experience in this life. You don't "climb the ladder" by admitting you are weak or unable to even climb at all. "Suppress your fears, deny your insecurities, climb on your own strength and don't bother knocking people off the ladder on your way up." - that's more along the lines of how the world deals with weakness. Thankfully God is bigger than this world and loves to overcome weakness through His bold power.
If you are anything like me, very weak and fragile at times, then you'll relate with this Puritan prayer. Pray it with me, and trust that God will renew your strength. Jesus, we need You at every hour, at every turn, during every trial, storm and distress, we need You when we are sailing and when we are drowning. We need You in both good times and bad. Help us not to keep going without You. Help us not to fall behind or get too far ahead of You. Help us to stay steady on the course You've mapped out for us. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see. Give us Love and all the Fruit of Your Spirit. Give us Grace.